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Nato Meeting, Lisbon

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 20 February 1952

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32.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the agenda for the meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Council in Lisbon this month.

The detailed agenda for the Council meeting will be decided by the Ministers concerned at the outset of the meeting, and it would not be proper for me to anticipate their decision. My right hon. Friend gave the House on 5th February a forecast of the principal matters which would be discussed, and which are likely to include the reorganisation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation machinery, the report of the Temporary Council Committee and the report of the Paris Conference on a European Defence Community.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that contrary to the desires of other members of N.A.T.O., the United States Government are pressing ahead with these negotiations with the Franco Government for military air and naval facilities in Spain without any assurance of the restoration of elementary freedom in that country, and would Her Majesty's Government take steps to see that this matter is put on the agenda at the Lisbon Conference?

That is a very much wider question. I am dealing with the agenda so far as it has been decided. I should like notice of the hon. Lady's supplementary question.

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind the extreme undesirability of entering into military relationship with Spain at the moment, especially in view of the execution of nine political prisoners there in the last few days? Will he give the House a firm assurance that the British Government do not approve of that kind of thing?

It has, I think, been frequently stated in this House that the British Government are not in favour of the inclusion of Spain in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Does not the hon. Gentleman think that the question of the association of any of the Powers in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation with the Franco Government is a matter for consideration by all the 12 Powers in that Organisation? Will he not, therefore, make efforts to see that this matter is put on the agenda as soon as possible and press it even more urgently in view of the atrocities which have been taking place in Spain during the last few days where innocent men have been sent to their death for political crimes?

In view of the complete callousness of the Government in this matter, give notice that I will do my best to raise it on the Adjournment.